Upcoming season will be Vikings last in the Metrodome

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 22, 2013 - 5:56 AM

The architect and builder of a new stadium said the Metrodome will be torn down shortly after the conclusion of the Vikings’ 2013 season.

 

The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, host to one Super Bowl, two World Series, a major league All-Star game and dozens of monster truck and tractor pulls, is done at 31.

Official word came Thursday, after the architect and builder for the glitzy new venue scheduled to replace it decided to raze it early next year to make way for a $975 million upgrade.

The outmoded, aesthetically challenged stadium, named for a beloved local politician and home for decades to the Vikings, Twins and University of Minnesota football team, fell victim to age and the trend toward sexier venues with waterfront views, luxury suites and more than enough restrooms.

“There are a lot of buildings that were built bigger and better and designed bigger and better,” said Bill Lester, who retired last year after 25 years as the building’s executive director. “But the main thing is, it served a community need. If you got a similar return out of any other investment, you’d consider it money very well spent.”

Built for about $55 million, the Dome opened in 1982 to high hopes and no air conditioning. Over the next three decades, maybe no sports facility in the land was so celebrated, ridiculed, praised and scorned.

It was home for two magical World Series championship teams and a few Hall of Fame moments, including Kirby Puckett’s 11th-inning, Game 6 walk-off home run that gave the Twins new life in the 1991 World Series.

It’s where Vikings greats such as Adrian Peterson and Randy Moss, ran through, around and over opposing defenses, and where McCartney, the Stones and U2 jammed before thousands.

It could get loud — so many Homer-Hanky waving fans hollered and screamed in the 1987 World Series that the place was dubbed “Thunderdome” — but could quickly go silent — thousands sat in stunned disbelief when Vikings kicker Gary Anderson missed a fourth-quarter field goal in the 1999 NFC championship game that killed the team’s Super Bowl dreams.

It was quirky, too. Oakland’s Dave Kingman once hit a ball so high it went through a roof air hole and never came down. Kingman was awarded a “roof rule” double.

“Everybody hated the place, but I loved it,” said former Twin Kent Hrbek, a first baseman on the team’s championship teams. “It was my home. I spent my whole career there. We won a couple of championships there. And we got our butts kicked there.

“It’s the only building I ever walked into where my hair stood up on my arms because of the electricity of the fans in there. I’ve been to some pretty exciting games in different buildings that were wild and had a great atmosphere. But it was nothing like the playoffs and World Series games and noise and excitement and sheer energy of the building.

“Opponents couldn’t stand the place. But that gave us a little edge right away.”

For all the noise that made the place rock, the Dome never seemed to impress the outside world.

Former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka ridiculed it often, calling it the “Rollerdome” and “a barn.”

Former New York Yankees manager Billy Martin said the stadium should be “banned” and dubbed it a “Little League field” after his team lost several fly balls against the roof’s backdrop.

“It stinks,” he once said. “It’s a shame a great guy like HHH has to be named after it.”

One manager suggested blowing it up.

“It was like someone was telling you you have ugly children,” said Lester, who admits that the criticism got to him.

But over time, he said, he realized the stadium’s looks didn’t matter.

“The magic was not the bricks and mortar,” he said. “The magic was the celebrations and the joys and the people coming together to watch people they cared about and create these terrific memories.”

Time, however, wasn’t kind.

As retro-looking ballparks on scenic waterfronts and spectacular NFL venues with retractable-roofs and first-class boxes became the norm, the faded Teflon-roofed stadium in Minneapolis seemed worn and weary.

When the Gophers and Twins pulled out for new digs a few years back, it seemed inevitable that the Vikings would soon follow — either to a new stadium in the suburbs or for one in L.A.

When the roof collapsed during a December 2010 snowstorm, the Vikings were forced to play their final home game a few miles away at TCF Bank Stadium. A new roof went up the following summer, but by then, the end seemed near.

Indeed, Thursday’s announcement was something of a formality.

The stadium authority and Vikings had said for weeks that the team would probably play two seasons, rather than one, at the University of Minnesota before the new stadium opens in 2016.

Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the stadium authority, said the final decision was made to simplify construction in a downtown neighborhood where space is already tight.

How the Dome goes, however, has yet to be determined.

It could be with a bang — explosives — or, more likely, piece by piece.

Either way, fans and the curious have another year to say goodbye.

“I’m sure I’ll be there when they tear it down to shed a tear,” Hrbek said Thursday. “I know I’m going to miss it. It was magical.”

 

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

  • related content

  • Video: Metrodome doomed

    Monday February 25, 2013

    The stadium, home for decades to the Vikings, Twins and University of Minnesota football team, fell victim to age...

  • Better days: The Metrodome was aglow with Super Bowl lighting in 1992.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close